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Vol 2, No 37
30 October 2000
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News from SloveniaNews from Slovenia
All the important news
since 21 October 2000

Brian J Požun


Post-election wrap-up

On Tuesday, the official election results were released, nine days after voting. Voter turn-out stood at 70.37 per cent, down about five per cent from 1996. There were no surprises, as the preliminary results were merely confirmed:


Percent of vote

Number of seats

Liberal Democrats (LDS)



Social Democrats (SDS)



United List of Social Democrats (ZLSD)



SLS+SKD Slovene People's Party



New Slovenia (NSi)



Pensioners' Party (DeSUS)



Slovene Nationalist Party (SNS)



Slovene Youth Party (SMS)






*The remaining two seats are reserved for, respectively, one representative of the Italian national minority and one representative of the Hungarian national minority.


Twelve of the MPs are women, and just under half, 44 out of 90, have held seats in parliament in the last mandate. Both of these statistics are higher than in 1996, when just seven women won seats and only 29 were re-elected.

Janez Drnovšek (LDS) led talks this week with all of the parties which won seats in parliament, but as of yet there is still no coalition agreement. The LDS won the most votes, and so it falls to them to form the government. The right-leaning SDS and NSi parties have publicly stated that they will not enter coalition with the LDS. The politically-neutral SMS seems intent on staying above the fray in parliament, but did meet with LDS representatives. The most likely coalition will be made up of the LDS and the ZLSD, possibly with DeSUS, even though LDS leader Drnovšek is giving indications that he favors a grand coalition of his left-leaning party with the right-leaning SLS+SKD.

The daily Dnevnik conducted a post-election poll this week which shows that most people support a left-center coalition composed of the LDS, ZLSD and DeSUS. This was the choice of 32 per cent of the respondents. Slightly less, 28.7 per cent, favor a center coalition of the LDS, ZLSD and SLS+SKD. Some 14.8 per cent would choose a highly unlikely LDS, SDS and NSi combination.

The poll also asked respondents for whom they would vote if the elections were to be held next week, instead of last week. A surprisingly high number of respondents told pollsters that they would change their votes. The LDS would take almost 40 per cent in this scenario, and the SMS would see its 4.33 per cent rise to more than six. All other parties, however, would see drops. The SLS+SKD would fall from 9.53 to 4.1 per cent, and DeSUS and the SNS would not get the four per cent necessary to enter parliament.

Former Prime Minister Andrej Bajuk's Argentine roots may have won him several percentage points in the election. This week it was reported that of the 969 Slovene citizens living in Argentina who voted at the embassy in Buenos Aires, 814 voted for Bajuk's NSi party. The other two right-wing parties had reasonable showings, the SDS getting 100 votes and SLS+SKD getting 26, while the remaining center and left of center parties got few or none, reflecting the staunchly conservative politics of the emigre community in Argentina.

President Milan Kučan called for the first post-election session of parliament to be convened on Friday 27 October. The first order of business was the confirmation of all 90 mandated MPs, which was done unanimously without formal discussion. The president of the last parliament, Janez Podobnik (SLS+SKD), then passed on his duties to Jožef Bernik (NSi), who as the oldest MP will be the caretaker president. It is expected that the new president and vice-president of parliament will be elected at the next session, on 7 November. Potentially, the new prime minister could take office as early as 15 November.


SMS Scandal, Part II

The week started out good for Slovenia's newest party, the Slovene Youth Party (SMS). On Monday, the official results of the elections were released and the party had won four seats in parliament. The LDS had entered discussions with them to join the governing coalition, and on Tuesday party leaders met with the leaders of the pensioners' party DeSUS to discuss co-operation.

The election success of the SMS became one of the major stories of the election. Late last week, Reuters ran a story about the party. Over the weekend, both Dnevnik and POP TV ran lengthy interviews with SMS leader Dominik S Černjak, and on Monday, Večer ran a profile of him. Mladina followed suit when its weekly issue hit newsstands on Wednesday.

But as early as Tuesday, things started to go bad. Matvež Krivic, who is affiliated with the Student Organisation of the University of Maribor (ŠOUM), published an open letter to the SMS in Večerin which he forwarded many of the same indictments that the "Representatives of Critical Youth" {See: SMS Joins the Big Leagues} cast on the SMS two weeks ago: that many of the party's members and leaders had abused their positions in student organisations at the universities of Maribor and Ljubljana.

By Friday, a minor scandal had hit the pages of Delo and Večer that accused the ŠOUM of financially supporting the SMS, which is forbidden by the student organisation's charter. Further details were also leaked to the press concerning the alleged abuses committed by present SMS members when they were part of ŠOUM. The SMS hopes to clear up concerns by submitting its campaign finance reports to an independent budgetary court.


Capital News

Early this week, the Ljubljana City Council began its review of the proposed city budget for 2001. The proposal amounts to some SIT 41.6 billion (USD 208 million).

On Friday, mayor Viktorija Potočnik, together with Igor Jurančič and Tomaž Souvan of the city's Department of Urbanism, gave a press conference where they presented the city's new long-term development plan, Ljubljana 2020. The plan will stress sustainable development concepts. SIT (Slovene Tolar) 200 million (USD one million) is allotted in this year's budget for the project, and the same amount will be in next year's. More than 130 experts will participate in the plan's preparation. It is expected to be ready by 2002.

Jurančič told reporters that the project unfortunately lacks a sufficient legal framework, since Slovene legislation does not yet cover this field. The relevant laws are outdated, such as the Law on the Regulation of Space from 1984. The city, however, cannot wait for the State to catch up, since the current development plan expires in 2002.


Reformation Day - 31 October

Reformation Day will be celebrated across the country on 31 October. Geza Erniša, the head of the Slovene Evangelical Church, is hoping that the holiday will be celebrated by all Slovenes, and not just those who are Protestant. In a public statement, Erniša pointed out that Slovenia's roots lie in the Reformation. He also stressed that the cultural advances made by the Reformation-era intelligentsia, such as Primož Trubar's printing of the first Slovene book, were landmarks in the formation of the Slovene nation.

Reformation Day has been a state holiday since independence in 1991. The Evangelical Church is legally considered one of Slovenia's "Historic Churches," and is centered primarily on the north-eastern Prekmurja region bordering Hungary.


And in other news...

  • With Alija Izetbegović's departure from the presidency of Bosnia-Hercegovina last week, Slovene President Milan Kučan is the sole remaining head of state of the successors to the former Yugoslavia in office since the time of that state's collapse. The Belgrade daily Politika attributed Kučan's staying power and mass popularity to Slovenia's high level of development. The daily also pointed out that Slobodan Milošević (Serbia), Franjo Tuđman (Croatia), Milan Kučan (Slovenia), Alija Izetbegović (BiH) and Kiro Gilgorov (Macedonia) all enjoyed long careers due to the fact that they led their countries out of the old Yugoslav federation and were heralded as "Fathers of the Nation" and "Liberators."
  • Plans were announced this week for the 11th annual Ljubljana International Film Festival. The festival will take place from 9 to 22 November at sites throughout the capital. One section of the festival will feature mainstream films, all of which have premiered at other festivals this year. Another section will showcase international films. A third will feature films chosen by Ekran magazine and is designed to appeal to the younger generation of film-goers. The festival will also have a special section of Korean cinematography, and a retrospective of recent Taiwanese film.
  • Last weekend, an ecological camp called EcoFest was held on the Slovene-Austrian border. More than 80 Slovene and Austrian youngsters participated in the camp, where they worked on ecology-related projects and activities designed to promote intercultural exchange. Organisers would like to make the event an annual one, and to expand its scope throughout Europe.
  • Slovenia was featured in a special focus on EU expansion in Tuesday's Financial Times. The article echoed the EU's criticism of Slovenia's low foreign investment, hesitancy to get rid of duty-free shops and lack of privitization of telecommunications, the country's two largest banks and largest insurance company. However, the article also points out that overall, the country's economy is well liberalized and that many EU member countries have state-owned banks. Janez Potočnik, head of Slovenia's EU negotiating team, is quoted as saying that even if only small countries such as Hungary, Estonia and Slovenia are admitted in the first round, it would still be helpful, as it would pave the way for others.

Brian J Požun, 28 October 2000

Moving on:


SiOL Novice
Slovenia Business Week


Yuri Svirko
Vanishing Politicians

Mel Huang
Crisis Looms

Sam Vaknin
Isn't That Bad

József Krasznai

Focus: Josef

Julie Hansen
Škvorecký Speaks

Reading Škvorecký

Short Story:
Josef Škvorecký
The End of
Bull Mácha

Martin D Brown
Czech Historical Amnesia

Dejan Anastasijević (ed)
Out of Time

Gusztáv Kosztolányi
Hungarian Oil Scandal

Sam Vaknin
After the Rain

Press Reviews:
Oliver Craske
Rising up the Charts

Andrea Mrozek
To Ban or
Not to Ban?


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